Greece is a heaven of international tourism – it is the second most popular destination for sailors after Croatia. Besides the clean beaches and breathtaking islands, the monuments in ancient Hellas attract most visitors. What to do in Greece? We are going to show you the best programmes in the huge and diverse sailing area.
This article gives you an overview of the following topics:
- Things to do in Greece: Wonderful beaches and watersports
- What to do in Greece: Programmes in nature
- Traditions and entertainment opportunities in Greece
- Gastronomy of Greece
Greece is known for its breathtaking beaches all over the world. Out of the Islands of the Ionian Sea, Lefkada is particularly worth mentioning for its many beautiful beaches. Visitors can find an extremely clean and snow-white pebbly beach here. The most famous beach is Porto Katsiki, located on the western side of the Island. The beach, lying long under a grassy rock offers a breathtaking view; the sea has a turquoise blue colour. Crete is the biggest island in Greece and the fifth-biggest island on the Adriatic Sea. Its famous beach, the 1-kilometre-long, white-sandy Elafonissi is located on the southwestern part of the Island. The waters are crystal clear and can be seen in every shade of green and blue. The water is slowly deepening here, so families with small children often come to visit.
Due to its popularity, we recommend that you arrive early in the morning. Rhodes is the biggest part of the Dodecanese Islands. Anthony Quinn Bay is considered one of its most beautiful beaches; it is located next to Faliraki. Its waters are calm, deepen slowly, and are so clear that you can actually see the fish swimming. It is particularly ideal for scuba-diving. If you would like to try different watersports, the western side of Rhodes is a surf paradise.
Mountains constitute 80% of picturesque Greece, making it Europe’s most mountain-covered country. In addition, the incredible valleys, caves, bays and lakes make it even more colourful.
Olympus National Park
The national park got its name from the highest summit in Greece, which was considered to be the place where the Gods lived, according to mythology. The area has an extremely rich flora and fauna. Olympus has been a national park since 1938, due to the protection of the several species natives nowhere else. In 1981, UNESCO made its Biosphere Reserve here. The highest point of the mountain is Mytikas at 2918 metres. The ruins of several ancient, archaeologically important buildings can be found at the foot of Olympus.
Ainos National Park
The exceptional natural preserve of Ainos was made one of the National Parks of Greece in 1962. The highest summit of the mountain chain is 1628 metres. When the weather is clear, the nearby islands Ithaka, Zakynthos and Lefkada are visible from here. When the atmospheric conditions are pleasant, you can even see the ground. In the park, you can encounter rare plants and animals such as the Kefalonian pine trees, or the small-sized Kefalonian wild horses.
The 16-kilometres-long Samaria Gorge is one of Europe’s longest gorges; it is the most popular natural sight in Crete. It is located on the western part of the island, on the White Mountains, and can be visited from May until the end of October. The gorge starts 1227 metres high at Omalos Plateau, at the entrance called Xyloskalo. It ends at the Libyan Sea, at an establishment called Agia Roumeli. The area has been a national park since 1962 and is a home for several hundreds of animals and plants. You can see native ibex, eagles, falcons and jackdaws here, and as for the plants, cypresses, oleanders and pines make the sight even more beautiful.
The gorge’s narrowest and most frequently photographed point is the Iron Gates. Due to the almost completely vertical cliffs and the gorge narrowing down to only 3 metres, usually, there is no sunlight here. If you want to avoid the summer heat and crowds, we recommend that you visit early in the spring or late in the autumn months.
Zakynthos is the southernmost island on the Ionian Sea. Venetians used to call it “The Flower of the East” for its natural beauties. The island’s most interesting sights are the Blue Caves, discovered by Antonio Komouto in 1897. The independent rock formations and cave systems can be located in the northwestern part of Zakynthos, between Agios Nikolaos and Skinari Cape. Since its waters are crystal clear and have a turquoise colour, it is not only popular amongst tourists but scuba-divers as well.
The little, secluded Navagio Bay is located in the northwestern part of Zakynthos. It is considered one of the most beautiful beaches not only in Europe but in the entire world. The park was originally called Agios Georgios – it got its current name when the cargo-ship Panagiotis ran aground here. It is a must-see sight because of the landscape as well – from the side of the shore it is covered with forests and limestone rocks, several hundreds of metres high.
Aquaworld Aquarium & Reptile Rescue Centre
Are you looking for an indoor programme where you can really get in touch with nature? The Aquaworld Aquarium & Reptile Rescue Centre is located in Crete, the bay of Hersonissos; we recommend visiting the place for children as well as adults. Although it is not very large, you can explore it in half to one hour, and everybody will surely leave with a great experience. The aquarium shows you the local sea life, and you can even hold reptiles in your hand. They are open from 1st April to 31st October, from Monday to Saturday.
Apokries is the three-week-long carnival season in Greece, right before lent. Its date is in connection with their most important religious holiday, Easter. People wear costumes, sing and dance into the night at this time of the year.
Nightlife in Rhodes
If you love the buzzing nightlife, you should visit Rhodes, particularly considered to be a “party island”. On the longest street of Faliraki, located in the northeastern part of the island, there are several bars, clubs and discos for those who want do dance all night. Paradiso Beach Club can accept up to 4500 people, and the perfect atmosphere is provided by the best international DJs. Read about what to do in Rhodes.
The local cuisine has many similarities to those of other Mediterranean countries. The Greek is fond of eating healthily: their diet contains lots of fish and Frutti di mare. They rarely eat pork, as they prefer beef and mutton. Roast lamb is a real delicacy here. They prepare meat in several ways, and spices have a central role in their cuisine. The most popular ones are oregano and basil, and they also like coriander, cinnamon, cumin, olives and olive oil as. They use the latter to make salads richer and emphasize their flavours, too. People don’t have salads only as a side dish or use it just for decoration – they are often considered a full dish.
The mildly salty flavour of feta cheese is perfectly in harmony with the fresh vegetables. They eat pies filled with eggs, spinach, onions and cheese at any time of the day. You can buy them semi-prepared in the local stores. Besides grapes, their favourite fruits are figs, walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts. They also make filling for their cakes from these. The desserts are usually extremely sweet, similarly to Turkish delicacies.
The most popular drinks
Ouzo is a popular drink amongst the Greek – this is an anise-flavoured aperitif that gets its white colour from water. Their wines are usually sweet; examples include the white wine aromatized with pine resin, retsina, or mavrodafni. We recommend that you try the latter with fruits. They also love good-quality lager beers. They have coffee after every meal, either black with grounds in the cups or instant coffee.
In this article, we have provided you with a list of programmes to do in Greece. If you visit here, you can expect beaches with crystal clear waters, breathtaking natural wonders and amazing gastronomic experiences. Read more if you plan Greece sailing or rent a boat in Greece.